Please lend your support

Ron Hogg with his wife Maureen, receiving his CBE from Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon, and her deputy Alasdair MacConachie, at St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington

The widow of former police commissioner Ron Hogg has lent her support to the hospice which nursed him through his final weeks.

Maureen Hogg urged the public not to forget the plight of St Teresa’s Hospice, which needs to raise £3m a year to provide a raft of core services free of charge for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

“Understandably the focus is on coronavirus at the moment but people are still having to live with other illnesses and need the absolutely fantastic care Ron received at St Teresa’s,” Mrs Hogg said.

“My mum also received a great deal of help from St Teresa’s when she was unwell and we have supported the hospice and others in the region for years. Ron always had his piggy banks and it was amazing how much money we collected filling them with loose change.”

Mr Hogg, a former Deputy Chief Constable with Cleveland Police, was renowned for his drive and innovation as County Durham & Darlington Police, Crime & Victims’ Commissioner, helping Durham Police become the best performing force in the country.

He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, an incurable condition that leads to muscle wasting. Unfortunately, the condition proved to be exceptionally aggressive and within months he was receiving end of life care at St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington.

“He went from bad to worse and we were told it would be a matter of weeks rather than months,” recalled Mrs Hogg.

“He could have stayed in hospital but we opted for St Teresa’s and the environment and care was amazing. We had a room with a bathroom and balcony overlooking the gardens. It was just so lovely.

“There was always a nurse on hand and I didn’t have to worry about meals or lifting Ron, who could only move the top of his fingers towards the end. St Teresa’s was the best place we both could have possibly been. I can’t praise it enough. It’s so important now that we all help it continue its amazing work.”

St Teresa’s was forced to launch an emergency appeal after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in all of its fundraising events being cancelled and the closure of its charity shops, cutting off its financial lifeblood.

Despite welcome support from the government’s emergency response which compensates for some of the lost income from closure of the Hospice’s shops and curtailment of all fundraising events, the Hospice will still face a deficit this year. The emergency appeal will run until such time as this is no longer the case, otherwise their vital services remain under threat.

Members of the public are urged to donate to the emergency appeal Just Giving Page at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HugToStTs or pledge a regular gift to become official ‘Friends of the Hospice’. Fundraising packs can also be obtained offering ideas to help raise money during the period of isolation.

St Teresa’s Hospice Chief Executive Jane Bradshaw said: “Ron was such a special person, who dedicated his life to making the community a better place. It was our absolute privilege to look after him in his final moments and I am so grateful to Maureen for helping us to make everyone aware of the current predicament of the hospice. Wanting to help captures the spirit of our movement and is a fitting tribute to Ron and his work.”